Long-spined Porcupinefish (Enoshima Aquarium Series 1 by Kaiyodo)

Review and images by JimoAi; edited by bmathison1972

Pufferfish and their close cousins, the porcupinefish, have a particular defense mechanism of swallowing water and thanks to their expandable stomach, it makes them look bigger, rounder and less appetizing for potential predators (One example in popular media is Mrs Puff puffing up when Spongebob fails his driving test for the X amount of times and going ‘Oh, Spongebob. Why’). If that isn’t enough, pufferfish have a toxin called ‘tetradotoxin’ which makes it foul tasting and potentially lethal to other fish. And for porcupinefish, about 300 to 500 spines (which are modified scales and part of the skeleton) stick out when the animal puffs up, which makes it even less appetizing as a predator would get a mouthful of spikes. The long-spine porcupinefish (Diodon holocanthus) can be found in the tropical parts of seas and ocean from the Americas in the Caribbean, Hawaii, the Bahamas, the gulf of Panama, South Africa, the Western Indian Ocean in the Red Sea, Australia, and Japan. A nocturnal species, they prey on hard-shelled invertebrates including crustaceans, bivalves and other mollusks, and urchins, which they crush with their beak. Like pufferfish, they too have independent eyes, similar to a chameleon. They are hunted by humans for consumption but they can be toxic if not prepared correctly and for the aquarium trade. Despite this, they are listed as ‘Least concern’ by the IUCN.

About the figure: This little porcupinefish measures 4.8 cm; these fish can get anywhere from 25 to 50 cm, so this puts this figure at the 1:5 to 1:10 scale approximately. It has the accurate colours to a real long-spined porcupinefish: golden brown top with black spots and splotches (which were brown in some individual) with a white underbelly and the fins are a translucent grey colour.

The figure is sculpted propelling itself to a side with its huge pectoral fins, and is attached to its rocky base by a little acrylic rod (which in turn attaches to a blue ‘bottlecap’ base, not shown here). The figure isn’t puffed up, like most stereotypical depictions of puffer- and porcupinefishes and is instead more relaxed and cruising around its surroundings. From the dorsal view, you can see the spots and splotches better and the relaxed spines. I doubt that there is about 300 spines on there due to the small size of the figure but, it should suffice.

It does have a little bit of derpiness in the face as the golden brown eyes are each looking at a different direction, using the independent eyes of these fish, and the beak is sculpted semi-open. Overall, Kaiyodo did a really solid job!

This figure is made in collaboration with the Enoshima Aquarium, which Kaiyodo has done for many aquariums in Japan. There are 2 series of the Enoshima Aquarium line, both with their own unique pieces. And since they quite old, they have been out of production for more than a decade or so and your best bet to acquiring these figures is through the secondary market of eBay and Yahoo Auctions (took me 3 years to find mine). There are other porcupinefish figures available including the Yujin long-spined porcupinefish and the Safari Ltd. long-spined porcupinefish, both are also retired and are sculpted ‘puffed up’.

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